Wisconsin governor wins recall | June 6
Fiscal lessons from Walker's win
Republican Gov. Scott Walker cruised to a crushing win to keep his job in a state Barack Obama carried by 14 points in 2008. Democratic voters could not ignore the fact that Walker turned a deficit into a surplus while lowering property taxes, creating jobs, and battling and beating the large labor unions' grip on state workers.
Walker actually followed through on his campaign promises and made some enormously hard, politically incorrect decisions that had to be made. The results speak for themselves both in the fiscal turnaround for the state of Wisconsin as well as in the backing of the majority of voters in the state.
Our country wants fiscal responsibility and strong leadership every bit as much as Wisconsin voters do. Genuine leaders will be rewarded and counterfeits exposed. Maybe some of the electorate are sheep who blindly follow their political party, but the recall election proved that voters are waking up.
Jeff Reckson, St. Petersburg
Uneven ground | June 3
Self-defense law too vague
Our Constitution affords us the right of due process. One facet of due process is having a criminal code so explicit that the average person has a clear understanding of what acts are criminal. When a criminal law is written to result in multiple and conflicting interpretations, as the Times investigation has demonstrated in its "stand your ground" review, the judicial doctrine of "void for vagueness" is potentially implicated.
Here is a law that cannot be effectively applied as it requires that the police, prosecution, defense, judge and jury attempt to mentally re-create the circumstance of an assumed conflict and then assess if the "thinking" of defending oneself with a weapon is what a reasonable person would have done in the exact same circumstance. It's mind-reading at best.
Generally, "void for vagueness" is applied as a defense strategy. However, there is no reason the prosecution in the George Zimmerman case cannot bring up the "vagueness" of the "stand your ground" law in pretrial hearings, hopefully leading to a judicial examination of its validity.
Stuart Berney, Tampa
This article only begins to illustrate the problems created by passage of the "stand your ground" law. I'm looking forward to part two and hope it includes additional insight into what motivated our legislators to enact it. Their obviously flawed rationale seems void of common sense and the lessons of American history.
Even a superficial scan of past trends reveals a number of periods (such as the 1920s and '30s) when the use of personal firearms was routinely marketed alongside other household products such as pots and pans. There was one famous gun ad in Life magazine depicting a rancher wielding a Thompson submachine gun to fend off would-be rustlers in his front yard.
Florida's legislators, in effect, provided a false and insidious incentive for people to arm themselves. It is clear now that their true motive was to provide a diversion from a dire lack of leadership on more important issues.
Your article shows that our elected politicians made it legally easier to settle petty differences with deadly armed force. Is this what any of us really wants?
Roger Crescentini Sr., Tampa
Zimmerman back in jail | June 4
Killing was easily avoided
George Zimmerman is solemn and worried? He should be. All of this could have been avoided if he had stayed in his car like the 911 operator told him to. What part of "do not pursue" and "stay in your car" does he not understand?
Jackie Thibault, Beverly Hills
Strip clubs swivel for RNC traffic | June 3
Why focus on strip clubs?
How sad that Tampa has so much to offer, yet we have to advertise strip clubs for the upcoming Republican National Convention. This is terrible publicity for our area. If I was the wife, child or relative of someone attending this convention I would be appalled.
There are so many things to see and do in Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg. Why not talk about the Rays, Busch Gardens or our beaches? Let's focus on the good that this area has to offer.
Marreen Majer, Palm Harbor
Meaning of 'marriage' | June 5, letter
A fundamental right
No one has ever explained how my recent marriage to my same-sex partner will influence anyone to commit bestiality or how it diminishes his or her marriage. On the other hand, there is a significant amount of data demonstrating that in states that allow same-sex marriage, the divorce rate has fallen. In Massachusetts, the divorce rate is now at levels last seen in the 1940s.
The writer claims that 20 years ago no one even considered the idea of same-sex marriage. Well, 40 years before that, people in some parts of the country didn't consider the possibility of mixed-race schools, bathrooms and restaurants.
As to the "majority rule" aspect of the argument, the United States is a republic, not a democracy. In a republic, the majority cannot take the rights of the minority away. "Gay marriage" (or as I prefer to call it, "marriage") is a fundamental right to all citizens, not a special right to be allowed to some.
David Schauer, St. Petersburg
Learning from the past
After reading this letter condemning gay marriage, I suggest rephrasing the statement about it being "ludicrous." If we go back 50 or so years, the thought of interracial marriage was thought by many to be "ludicrous."
Enough already: If two people love each other enough to want to spend their lives together, the government should not stand in their way.
Ronald Medvin, Tampa
This letter asks, "If the newspaper advocates expanding the definition of marriage to one group, how can it deny others?" Simple: by limiting "marriage" to two unrelated adult individuals who have decided to make a lifetime commitment of love and responsibility. Just as the law does not currently allow all heterosexuals to marry (you can't marry a minor, or your mother, or your sister), this solution recognizes the importance of the institution for gays and straights alike.
Jonathan Coleman, St. Petersburg